Temporary accommodation FAQs

What is temporary accommodation?

Under Housing Law, if a person or family becomes homeless and urgently needs a home, the Council may provide temporary accommodation while helping them find long-term housing. This is called temporary accommodation because it is a temporary solution. Therefore, the location, size, and rent may vary. 

Temporary housing includes:

  • a private flat or house
  • a council or housing association flat
  • housing with support (i.e., you have your own home and support is put in place to help you live independently.)

What facilities and services can I expect to receive?

Temporary accommodation can be emergency accommodation or long term temporary accommodation. Whatever type of tenancy you have, your landlord is responsible for the day-to-day management of your home.

Homes are either single or shared. You will have to provide your own bed linen and cooking utensils. Laundry services and breakfast are not provided.

Why is my licence or non-secure tenancy agreement important?

When you move into temporary accommodation, you will receive a licence or non-secure tenancy agreement. 

Make sure you read the information provided so that you fully understand the agreement. If you break any part of the agreement, you could be evicted. Examples of breaking your agreement include:

  • you do not pay your rent
  • you sub-let the property
  • you have caused significant damage to the property
  • antisocial behaviour

If this happens, it is unlikely that we will be able to give you another home and you will have to find somewhere to live yourself. If you become homeless due to this, and then re-approach the Council for homeless support you will likely be classed as intentionally homeless.

How does the council allocate temporary accommodation?

The Council will decide how to allocate temporary accommodation by looking at your individual circumstances. We have thousands of people on our waiting list for council homes, and sometimes we may need to house people outside of the borough.

We will look at what is reasonable for you – it may be that you can commute to work, travel to your medical appointments, or take your children to school on the bus or train.

In some cases, you might need to register with schools or medical services that are more local to your temporary accommodation.

Why can't my temporary accommodation be in Royal Greenwich? 

The Council has temporary accommodation in various locations across London and Kent.

Although we have temporary accommodation in the borough, the demand for housing is very high. Therefore, we must sometimes find accommodation in other areas outside of Royal Greenwich and Greater London.

We are always looking for new accommodation to meet the needs of our residents. For example, we nearly always rent emergency accommodation from private landlords. Longer-term temporary housing is often owned or leased by the Council. 

What happens if I refuse an offer of temporary accommodation?

We will discuss offers of temporary accommodation with you and listen to your concerns about the property. If the accommodation is shared or outside of the borough, this does not necessarily mean it is unsuitable, and if we still think it suits your needs, we expect you to accept the offer.

We will advise you to accept the offer and notify you of your rights to review the offer in these circumstances. If you refuse, you are unlikely to be offered further temporary accommodation through the Council.

If the temporary accommodation is not suitable, what can I do?

You will need to to contact your temporary accommodation officer, who’s contact details will have been provided to you.

How long will I have to wait to move out of temporary accommodation?

Royal Greenwich has a severe shortage of council homes as thousands of people are on our waiting list. Currently, around 1,600 households are living in temporary accommodation. 

To find you a more permanent home, we may contact you about other housing options, sometimes in private rented accommodation.

We will make sure that any offers of private rented accommodation will be suitable in size, location and affordability for you, and that you have all the housing options available to make an informed decision about your next move.

Private rented sector accommodation will often be the quickest route to finding a settled home. Find out more about private rented accommodation.

Who do I contact if I have problems in my temporary accommodation?

When you move into temporary accommodation, you will be given the details of the Council’s temporary accommodation team and assigned a housing officer to help you. You should contact this person if you have any problems with your temporary accommodation.

How do I pay for temporary accommodation?

You are responsible for your rent which you can pay through your wages or by applying for benefits. You could be evicted if you do not pay your rent.

If you are struggling to pay your rent, contact the Council as soon as possible and we will help come up with a payment plan.

You can also come into the Woolwich Centre or Eltham Centre to pay, pay online, or through rent payment cards which you can find in shops like the post office.

How long before I move out?

How long you stay in temporary accommodation depends on how flexible or able you are to find longer-term accommodation.

If you can move into private rented accommodation, you will find a long-term home far quicker than if you apply for a council house.

I have found or been offered alternative accommodation, what should I do?

If you have found appropriate long-term accommodation, you should speak to the Council’s procurement team, called HACTRAC, who help to find long-term homes for people in temporary accommodation. They will discuss this in further detail with you. You can contact the team via email on HACTRAC@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or by telephone on 020 8921 2531.

Why is the Council ending my temporary accommodation?  

There are a few reasons why the Council could end your temporary accommodation. You may be moved to another location if your temporary accommodation is not owned by the Council and the landlord needs it back, or if we have found a more appropriate, longer-term home for you.

In most cases, we will end your temporary accommodation if you accept or decline an offer of a suitable long-term home. For further information on what this means, speak to your housing officer.

I like the temporary accommodation; can the Council offer it to me as permanent housing?

If you want to live in your temporary accommodation long-term, the first step would be to speak to the Council’s temporary accommodation team. If the accommodation is through a private landlord, we will contact them to see if this is possible.

Temporary accommodation owned by the Council cannot be offered to you as permanent housing.

I do not agree with the Council’s decision on my homeless case – what should I do?

You have the right to appeal any decisions the Council makes about your temporary accommodation. If you request an appeal, your stay in temporary accommodation may be extended pending the outcome of the request. However, this is not guaranteed. If your appeal is unsuccessful, you will be evicted from the temporary accommodation.